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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

246        HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

From Saros Patok he returned once more to Lissa, but his stay
there was brief. In the war between the Poles and the Swedes
Lissa was burned down. Comenius had to flee for his life, having
lost the literary labours of years in the flames, including the
treasured manuscript of his work onPansophia. The closing years
of his life were spent in Amsterdam in the comparative ease
permitted by the generosity of a wealthy follower of the pansophic
doctrines. He still found time, despite his cares for the Brethren,
to engage in some teaching; and he gathered together his various
educational works and published them in 1657 under the title of
The Complete Didactic Works ofj. A. Comenius. He died in 1670
in the midst of the controversies excited by his latest writings
on pansophia. 

As an educator Comenius stands in the direct line of succession
from Martin Luther. The difference between the great reformer,
propounding educational ideals and careless about detail, and the
Moravian bishop, devoting himself to the writing of textbooks
and the invention of a universal method of instruction, is no doubt
very considerable, but this difference should not be allowed to
obscure the community of spirit of the two men. In many respects,
indeed, Comenius came nearer to Luther's point of view than any
of the men on whom fell the task of creating a Protestant system
of education. Scholars like Melanchthon and Sturm in their zeal
for humanistic learning had made the grammar schools their main
concern, and the result had been that the education of those
classes of the community who had not the leisure necessary for
classical study had suffered neglect. Comenius was saved from
this narrowness of educational vision by his abhorrence of the
pagan morality of the classics and by the defects of his own
scholarship. He recognized the importance of Latin as an instru-
ment for the attainment of knowledge, and sought to make the
mastery of it " speedy, pleasant and thorough," but he refused to
regard the learning of the classics as the central interest of the
educator. For him education meant the completest possible
preparation for life, here and hereafter, not through languages,
but through all the facts about the universe to which languages
opened the door. Following this line of thought, he was brought
back to the fundamental positions which had been enunciated by
Luther, but largely forgotten by his immediate successors. He
saw that education was the right of every human being and not